Foster Care

For information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent call 1-888-KID-HERO or e-mail:  KidHero@cafafct.org 

A New Beginning for Us All by Commissioner Joette Katz
Behavioral Health Services for DCF Children in Foster Care
FAQ's (about Foster Care)
Information Request Form
Foster Care Services Best Practice Guide
Myths and Misconceptions
Private Provider Foster Care Contacts
Support Groups
The Road to Fostering 
Trainings (Online, For Foster and Adoptive Parents)

For all other information relating to foster care, please contact: Jacqueline.Ford@ct.gov

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A New Beginning for Us All
DCF is creating new ways of interacting with foster parents to better support children. 
By DCF Commissioner, Joette Katz  

At the Department of Children and Families, we care about children.  We want kids whose families have been torn apart to have some normalcy in their lives. We want them to feel safe and wanted, and to know that people care about them. We want them to feel part of their communities, play on sports teams, go to birthday parties and go on vacation.
 
We want them to have breakfast in the morning with the same people who put them to bed at night.  But that will require us to recruit more foster families and do a better job of retaining the ones we have. 

In the past, DCF has not always fulfilled its promise to foster parents.  Our foster parents have told us that, over the years, department workers have not always given them enough information, provided them with the appropriate help and supports, or shown them the respect and appreciation they deserve. Sometimes, foster parents have reached out to caseworkers for help or advice, and waited far too long for a response.

But a new day has dawned.  When I stepped down from my position as a Supreme Court justice in the winter of 2011, it was because I felt compelled to make a difference for the most vulnerable children in our state.  As a judge, I frequently saw the disturbing results of a society that didn’t do enough to care for its children: parents charged with abusing their offspring, and kids in trouble with the law.

As a mom, I couldn’t bear the thought that our children were falling through the cracks.  After taking the helm as commissioner of the DCF, I gathered a team to get Connecticut’s largest government agency back on the right track – to find out what was wrong, and figure out how best to make necessary changes.

Over the past year, we’ve been working on a report called “We All Need Somebody,” aimed at clarifying our mission and procedures so that foster families and foster children receive the highest level of care and support.

That report is our road map to the future.  It looks at everything from how we recruit to how quickly we license foster parents; how we put needed services in a foster home and keep kids out of congregate care.  This is a time of tremendous momentum and change.  We are revamping our system from end to end and from top to bottom.  From the minute you call DCF, you will not only get a friendly, responsive person on the other end of the line, but information, training, licensing and support – everything you need to make an informed decision, know where you stand throughout the licensing process, and connect with a child who desperately needs your care.

Those who become foster parents will also receive the resources they need: health insurance for the child, a monthly stipend, and access to programs, activities and resources that will make their experience more manageable and more rewarding.

If you’ve thought of fostering a child but are concerned that you may not be able to afford it, don’t worry. Fostering a child will not cost you anything but love.  We even pay the cost of sending that child to college.

Our job – and yours – has also been made easier by new legislation that allows us, for the first time, to share personal background information about any medical and emotional challenges that children may have as a result of issues in their previous environment.  Armed with better information and more comprehensive support, foster parents will be better equipped and more confident about meeting their foster child’s needs.
 
Many prospective foster parents have concerns about how a new child, especially one who comes from a difficult background, will blend in with their existing family.  We know that these children may act out, especially in the beginning.  That’s because, perhaps for the first time in their life, they feel safe to express their emotions.  They are not used to structure – the family structure that you’re providing.

But as our existing foster families tell us, helping a child transition from feelings of fear, anger and hopelessness to ones of comfort, safety and warmth is one of the most gratifying experiences they’ve ever had.  And involving their biological children in that process has allowed the family to relate on a deeper level and develop shared values and memories that last a lifetime.

No matter what your concern, we are here for you, in more and better ways than ever before.  We know what needs to be done, and we have committed to providing the highest level of service possible.

Caring for the at-risk children in our community is an enormous undertaking.  We know it’s not just about coming up with great ideas; it’s about following up and implementing.  I’m determined to deliver on every promise I make, and what I can promise is better partnership.  Let’s work together to help the children who need us the most.

 

Behavioral Health Services (BHP) for DCF Children in Foster Care

The Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership (CT BHP) is a program that will improve the behavioral health care for children and families who are enrolled HUSKY A and HUSKY B Programs as well as providing some limited services for children enrolled in DCF Voluntary services.

DCF and DSS contracted with Beacon Health to be the Administrative Services Organization (ASO) for the CT BHP.  An ASO is an organization with special expertise in behavioral health service management that can authorize and monitor various types and levels of care, track payment and collect data on consumers and providers who are enrolled in the CT BHP.

CT BHP is not a provider of behavioral health services, but rather a tool for management of behavioral health care for HUSKY members.

DCF kids who are HUSKY members and have behavioral health needs are eligible for services such as outpatient therapy, inpatient psychiatric hospital, home-based therapies such as IICAPS.  CT BHP is contacted by providers to assess the child's clinical need and authorize the appropriate level of care to meet the child's needs in the least restrictive setting.

Foster Care Disruption Pilot Project - CT BHP gets intensively involved with children who are in first time foster placement.  Currently piloted at the following area offices:  Hartford, New Britain, Norwich, Waterbury, and Manchester.  CT BHP Intensive Care Managers work with staff at the area office to coordinate about getting kids into behavioral health treatment if they need it. CT BHP Peer Specialists work with the foster parents to help them navigate the system and provide support to keep the placement intact.

  • Intensive Care Managers (ICM) - behavioral health clinicians that work with the most complex behavioral health issues.   Coordinate with providers and DCF to help connect to care
  • Peer Specialists - CT BHP staff that have experienced behavioral health issues themselves or in family members.  Work directly with families to provide support

 

*The services of Intensive Care Managers and Peer Specialists are not just available to those children eligible for the pilot project.  Any child that has HUSKY and therefore has behavioral health benefits through the CT BHP is able to have the services of the ICM or peer specialist.  The child's therapist/counselor, parent, guardian, DCF worker, foster care worker can call the CT BHP and make a request.

Telephone 1-877-552-8247   www.ctbhp.com/